Beer crafted for planes: What's the difference? A few airlines are pouring energy into enhancing their onboard beer experience -- by introducing beers specially brewed for flights. Teaming up with Hong Kong Brew Co., Cathay Pacific is the latest to join the game.
Cathay Pacific's Betsy Beer: Named after the airline's first plane -- a 1940s Douglas DC-3 -- Betsy is an unfiltered wheat-based beer made with pilsner, featuring Hong Kong honey, longan fruit and English Fuggle hops.
A crowd-pleaser: Betsy is described as being light, fresh and slightly sweet. "The honey was the obvious addition as this helps to reduce the hop bitterness which is accentuated at pressure," says Toby Cooper, founder of the Craft Beer Association of Hong Kong.
Lively on the tongue: "The place where (the beer) is most different is that the beer has about 10% carbonation -- that's to push the aroma and counteract the numbing of the senses you get inflight. This makes the beer livelier on the tongue," says Devin Kimble, director of Hong Kong Beer Co.
SAS x Mikkeller: Scandinavian Airlines -- a pioneer in altitude-friendly beer -- began collaborating with experimental Danish brewery Mikkeller in 2014. They debuted with Sky-High Wit -- a Belgian wit beer with a light and fruity taste.
11 Mikkeller beers: "The range we have puts most bars to shame," declares Peter Lawrance, SAS head chef and meal planning manager. Plane Ale (a crispy ale with caramel aromas, American hops and citrus notes) and Past Present Future (a light Belgian ale aged in Chardonnay barrels and served in Champagne bottles) are two of the latest additions.
The next trend? "We will see a lot more collaborations like these in the future," predicts Nik Loukas, a travel industry veteran and founder of airline dining website Inflight Feed. "I think it's only time before other airlines start creating their own beers or wines."